Our celebration of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s 80th birthday on Friday 5 December was just as special and memorable an occasion as we’d hoped for. Read the press reviews below to see what others thought.
“Violute and Echo add to the ongoing series of duets Birtwistle is writing for the London Sinfonietta’s inspiringly can-do players. Violute is a restless, insistent stream of notes for flute and violin that seems almost mechanical, like one of Nancarrow’s player piano pieces. Echo finds horn and trombone trading full-toned and muted sounds as if from neighbouring mountainsides.”
“Theseus Game is held together by the golden thread of melody; the history of the London Sinfonietta is similarly braided by the thread of Birtwistle’s music, present in the ensemble’s DNA, and worthily celebrated in this concert.”
“At the end of the concert the sizeable audience broke into justly enthusiastic and prolonged applause for the performers, and for Harrison Birtwistle, who had enjoyed a triumphal evening.”
“This was one of the most stimulating concerts of the year. Having a whole concert of Birtwistle is like Christmas coming early, a throwback to the good old days where every Birtwistle performance was a major event and there was a feeling of infinite possibility in the air (I refer back to my student days in the 1980s and early 1990s, in fact).”
“The audience seemed very much persuaded already. But the atmosphere was refreshing. For the people in the auditorium, Sir Harrison’s music is not to be dismissed for being too difficult. It’s very complexity is what makes it worth engaging with.”